Monday, March 26, 2007

Do I need to rake my lawn?

Raking is good for the lawn. Raking is mainly a grooming exercise. And it can be exercise. Plus it gives you sunshine and fresh air (unless you like raking in the rain). Raking removes the dead grass blades. Once the dead blades have been removed, the lawn will look greener, even though you have also removed some green grass blades.
Raking is also a “pruning”. Just as trimming a forsythia bush will stimulate growth, raking a lawn will prune stems of grass and will also stimulate growth.
Is it absolutely necessary? No. The lawn will not look as green until more new growth starts, but the lawn will still survive. My lawn is huge and I never have time to rake, I don’t like raking, and so I don’t.
Dethatching is a form of mechanical raking. Generally, I find mechanical dethatching to be a little unnecessary. Many people see the dead grass blades from the winter and will say “My lawn has a lot of thatch.” As lawn experts, we call that dead grass blades. Thatch to us is that layer of stems, roots and other stuff between the green part of the lawn (the grass blades) and the soil. Some thatch is good as it insulates the soil from extremes of temperature and reduces moisture loss. Too much thatch (TMT) acts like a thatch roof and can prevent water from penetrating the root zone. TMT also provides protection for insect pests and can increase disease incidence. TMT accumulates because of the lack of oxygen and the proper micro organisms to break it down. Rarely is TMT caused by not removing the clippings. Return clippings to the lawn as this will better utilize the nutrients in the clippings and increase microbial activity.

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